Rent Sound of Freedom (2023)

3.6 of 5 from 103 ratings
2h 5min
Rent Sound of Freedom Online DVD & Blu-ray Rental
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Synopsis:
After rescuing a young boy from ruthless child traffickers, a federal agent (Jim Caviezel) learns the boy's sister is still captive and decides to embark on a dangerous mission to save her. With time running out, he quits his job and journeys deep into the Colombian jungle, putting his life on the line to free her from a fate worse than death. 'Sound of Freedom' is gripping and suspenseful call to action shines a light on even the darkest of places.
Actors:
, , , Cristal Aparicio, , Lucás Ávila, Yessica Borroto Perryman, , , Samuel Livingston, , , , , , Mauricio Cujar, , , ,
Directors:
Producers:
Eduardo Verástegui, Lukas Behnken, Teresa Gaviria
Writers:
Rod Barr, Alejandro Monteverde
Studio:
Kaleidoscope Home Ent.
Genres:
Action & Adventure, Drama, Thrillers
BBFC:
Release Date:
25/12/2023
Run Time:
125 minutes
Languages:
English Dolby Digital 2.0, English Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English Hard of Hearing
DVD Regions:
Region 2
Formats:
Pal
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 2.39:1
Colour:
Colour
BBFC:
Release Date:
25/12/2023
Run Time:
131 minutes
Languages:
English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Subtitles:
English Hard of Hearing
Formats:
Pal
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 2.39:1
Colour:
Colour
BLU-RAY Regions:
B

More like Sound of Freedom

Reviews (1) of Sound of Freedom

A conventional and sentimental drama about a serious subject (surrounded by lots of external hype) - Sound of Freedom review by Piehawker

Spoiler Alert
21/11/2023

I stepped away from all the hoopla of the controversy of this film and just watched it on its own terms as a piece of drama. It's well shot and acted but is a fairly conventional drama with some thriller elements, but hardly an edge of the seat gripping drama. I was impressed with the cinematography and production design, adding a good sense of place and scope to the story.

The subject matter is not shown or handled in a crass or graphic way but there is a sentimental tone to the film, which felt a bit at odds with trying to portray such a dark story.

The script and editing are definitely lacking a sense of pace and not really showing the conflict of what is at stake for Tim Ballard. There is little shown in the way of personal cost: his marriage doesn't suffer, his finances aren't on the line, his career isn't at risk, there is little trauma hinted at so nothing really feels at jeopardy. The film also doesn't really elaborate as to why, after having experienced so much of the darker side of life for many years, this one particular scenario with lost children causes him to quit his job and pursue to rescue them personally.

There were also some strangely presented sequences which felt a bit unbelievable (in fairness, could have been based of reality...) The direction of some of these situations didn't quite translate in a realistic way for me. The catalyst of the story involved a father leaving his two children in a hotel room with strangers for 8 hours, then returning and being shocked to find them missing, felt quite forced. Plus the idea that a lone kidnapper and an abducted child could travel on planes in America and openly across borders with no ID (rather than an underground operation shipping them, which is shown in the film too - more effective and realistic) did stand out as distracting. Plus some of the supporting characters are cast/portrayed as a bit cartoonishly creepy.

There is very little in the way of religious elements/preaching in the film (despite what I'd been told before I saw it) but Jim Caviezel does play the character as slightly pious and his nobility rising above all the darkness. The rescued children just instinctually know he's honourable and bond under his protection immediately (he takes a rescued child out for a burger after arresting the abductor, and the child shows no suspicion about going off with another unknown man) so there is very little shown of the children's paranoia and mistrust of him after all they've been through. It almost comes across as sentimental which didn't really work for me considering the subject matter.

The child actors are very good, but they don't seem to have the blank dead eyes or malnourished/bruised appearance of what they have experienced. That could have been portrayed a little better with make up or direction. The sequence when a group of children all start singing in unison minutes after a rescue operation had saved them ("That's the sound of freedom" says a federal agent) felt quite cheesy and unrealistic after all the horrors they'd experienced up to that point.

Other films and TV shows have explored darker subjects in more dramatically effective ways (True Detective/Incendies/You were never really here) or in more action thriller ways (Taken/Spartan/Rambo: Last Blood), whereas this film has a more sentimental and earnest mawkishness (which is bordering on corny at times...)

It's a film worth checking out to make your own mind up about. It was much less controversial as a film as the hype had been (it's actually quite conventional as a drama and the characters and slow pace could be considered a bit dull). It has great cinematography and decent performances though and does address a serious subject. Plus as it was distributed outside of the Hollywood system, it is unique in that regard.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

Critic review

Sound of Freedom review by Mark McPherson - Cinema Paradiso

In the realm of movies about child trafficking, Sound of Freedom is the lesser picture of the topic. This goes beyond the bland cliches of a crime thriller and standard embellishments of the true story to appear more exciting. It’s that its central subject and the creatives behind this project are deep into right-wing conspiracy theory camp that it’s easy enough to see why this film had been shelved since 2018. Even if trying to divorce from the resume of those involved, it’s still just a tired attempt at fear-mongering, which is why there’s no surprise the considerable defense of this film has been, “What? So you’re FOR child trafficking?” That tactic is part of the QAnon conspiracy movement, which the film’s hero soon started buying into.

This thriller centers around the “true story” of Tim Ballard, played by Jim “Passion of the Christ” Caviezel, an actor who has been relevant for many years for reasons that will become clear shortly. Tim worked as a Special Agent for Homeland Security Investigations but was tired of the bureaucracy that wasn’t doing enough to stop child traffickers. He quit his job and soon formed an organization known as Operation Underground Railroad. The group gathers intel and builds up sting operations that fight for children's freedom. Tim’s drive seems to come from how he wouldn’t want this to happen to his kids. His kids, by the way, are only present for one scene with no dialogue. His wife only has one conversation, and it’s the bog-standard “I believe in you” speech.

The film is bizarre in how it depicts the horrors of sex trafficking and the vigilance that Tim employs. At one point, Tim gets some info on traffickers from an arrested pedophile he speaks with while pretending to be a pedophile to get on his good side. As if it weren’t confusing enough how this arrested guy got out of prison or why Tim tries to go undercover as a pedophile to extract info, the scene ends with the cops bursting in, beating the pedophile and arresting him (again, I suppose?). I’d try to find some logic here, but that’s not what the right-wing crowd has come for with this film. They want to watch pedophiles get punched, Tim rescue some children and have heartfelt messages about how this story is accurate and that you need to spread the word.

One of the film’s most prominent lines is “God’s children are not for sale.” Perhaps this inclusion convinced Angel Studios, the last studio that would distribute the film, to push this into theaters. While God’s children might not be for sale, their plight seems to be. Consider that the film ends with a QR code to “spread the word.” The code, however, does not take the viewer to resources for combatting child trafficking. It instead takes you to a website where you can buy more tickets. But why wouldn’t the film be directed toward existing resources?

Perhaps because actual organizations wouldn’t have anything all that nice to say about Tim Ballard or O.U.R. Although the film depicts Tim as an expert infiltrator and hero for rescuing children, his involvement in the sting operation was very little. Also, O.U.R. has been intensely criticized for everything from poor intel to ineffective sting operations to not providing care for rescued children, several of which ended right back on the street. They’re less like a band of child rescuers and more like a batch of amateurs playing Batman in Latin American countries without any oversight.

Tim Ballard and Jim Caviezel have boughten heavily into the QAnon conspiracy movement as if all that wasn't enough. Tim has promoted the Wayfair conspiracy in which he believed enslaved children were being hidden in an online retailer's sold furniture, a claim that was proven false. Caviezel attended a QAnon conference in 2021, where he promoted the film and talked about the fuzzy adrenochrome harvesting conspiracy. Although the distributor Angel Studios doesn’t openly buy into QAnon, they have no problem employing right-wing recluses like Connor Boyack and Doug TenNapel.

Sound of Freedom’s only central defense for its massive embellishments and ho-hum filmmaking is that it’s about an important topic, and those criticizing the film just don’t want to discuss child trafficking. Plenty of movies touch on this topic (You Were Never Really Here, Traffik, Stopping Traffic) far better than this propagandist garbage, meant more to boil your blood than do anything meaningful about it. Let that ending sink in, which begs the audience to buy more tickets. This is not a call to action; it’s a grift disguised as a moral cause and dressed as dollar-store Taken.

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